"This is an unbelievable place," Brown told UWBadgers. "I am really excited about it. This is Tailback U. I am really excited about being the running backs coach here. I welcomed my guys this morning. Very talented group. Very coachable, so I am just trying to bring my ‘A' game every day."
Coming from Marshall where he spent one season, Brown helped the Thundering Herd finish second in Conference USA in rushing at 205.9 yards per game. The Thundering Herd had three tailbacks rushed for over 500 yards last season, one of just seven FBS programs to achieve that. One of those players was walk-on Essray Taliaferro leading the team with 1,140 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
At Wisconsin Brown will be working with Melvin Gordon, who is an early Heisman Trophy favorite after rushing for 1,609 yards and 7.8 yards per carry last season, as well as sophomore Corey Clement and true freshman Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw. "I think he's going to coach hard," said Gordon. "It will be drills and little different things like that he may switch up. He may coach a little different. He told me already that he's going to try and push us as hard as he can. I think that's what you have to do here as the running back coach."
Prior to his time with the Thundering Herd, Brown spent the 2012 season as the running backs coach at Chattanooga. That followed one season as an assistant coach on the strength and conditioning staff at Georgia, his alma mater.
"The most exciting thing as a coach is to have guys that will do everything you ask them to do," said Brown. That instantly makes me instantly a better coach than I already am. I think we have a chance to be the best backfield in the country. I really mean that. I'll do everything I can to prepare those guys, simply the game as much as I can, add my little flavor to it because those guys have already been well coached in the past."
A prep standout at Tucker High School in Atlanta, Brown became a four-year starter at Georgia from 2004-07. He was a member of the Bulldogs' 2005 SEC championship squad, finished his career as the fifth-leading rusher in school history and was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
"I like him a lot," said junior fullback Derek Watt, who along with Gordon and Clement met Brown during the interview process. "He's got a lot to bring to the table. He's a younger guy. He played all four years in college. Got an opportunity in the League, so I know he's got plenty to bring to the table."
Brown suffered a season-ending injury during a preseason game his rookie year and was released in 2009. He was signed to the Cleveland Browns practice squad in November 2009 and was promoted to the active roster in January 2010, but was released before the next season. He transitioned from there into coaching.
"I am extremely aggressive, a competitive guy," said Brown. "I believe in filling a room with a bunch of talented guys who continue to push each other. I know as a self-motivated person that I was and still am, I need others around me to push me to get to that next level. I believe in bringing an environment of success, but also having fun. Football is a tough game as it is, so you have to be sure you are enjoying it and having fun. I think at this level, it's too difficult if you're not having fun."
After signing two touted prep football players (three-star nose tackle Jeremy Patterson and three-star receiver Krenwick Sanders) in the 2014 recruiting class from the state, in large part to the efforts of Hammock, Andersen said he wanted an assistant coach to work full time recruiting Georgia. Brown fits that billing for the Badgers.
"We had to have someone who could go out and truly be that hustler in recruiting -- someone who can sit in those living rooms and completely relate to the kids," Andersen told UWBadgers, saying Brown will recruit Georgia and the Southeast."That's what Thomas (Brown) showed me. I had him walk through how he goes through the recruiting process and how he builds those relationships. People have to trust you with their kids.
"Once I got his name -- he wasn't initially on my radar, on my list -- I went through the process and it became very apparent that he was the guy. Everyone basically said the same thing about him -- he's a great person and a great recruiter. He pushes the kids hard but he takes care of the kids. That kept coming out about him."